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A Guide To Choosing A Canon DSLR Camera With Short Reviews

canon camera reviews

Researching DSLR cameras? Read millions of Canon camera reviews that feature about 10% English and 90% jargon? It's not easy trying to get your bearings if you are unfamiliar with the digital SLR camera market. Salespeople and reviewers are often unsympathetic to the total beginner!

So, this article will provide a quick introduction to Canon, and the categories of DSLR's they produce. I'll also also give a birds-eye view of 6 specific models, that may help you kick start some deeper research.

Introducing Canon

Canon is a huge Japanese multinational corporation. They manufacture fantastic imaging and optical products, ranging from DSLR cameras to desktop printers. As far as digital cameras are concerned, Canon kicked off their sales back in 1984 with the RC - 701.

They later developed an 'EOS' range of digital SLR cameras, which now features models spanning from those suitable for beginners to super high spec. professional tools. Hang on a minute, what's 'EOS'...!?

'EOS' refers to a kind of technology that Canon developed before they actually started producing digital SLR cameras. It stands for 'Electro Optical System' (yikes!) Basically, it means that no actual mechanical connections are required between a camera body and the lens.

(It also, supposedly, was thought an apt abbreviation since Eos was the Greek goddess of the dawn; photographers like shooting at dawn - 'magic hours' and all that stuff...)

Canon, working with Kodak, brought together digital technology with their EOS system during the 90's. Then, in 2000 they turned out their first purely Canon made EOS digital SLR: the D30. Their range of EOS digital SLR's has expanded at pace since then!

 

Canon Cameras By Category

The best Canon camera for you depends on your unique requirements. You need to work out what kind of pictures you will be taking and what you will be doing with them. Figure out how that translates into specifications. Match up your most important specifications with available cameras. Then factor in your budget! Start by looking in the category which you think is most likely to offer what you're looking for:

Here's how to tell what category a Canon camera belongs to based on its name:

Consumer 'EOS' + 3 or 4 digits (e.g EOS 550D), in North America - 'Rebel, in Japan - 'Kiss'.
Prosumer 'EOS' + 2 digits (e.g EOS 40D), in North America - 'Elan'.
Professional

1 series (e.g 1, 1N, 1D...).

Semi-professional cameras are 'EOS + 1 digit (e.g EOS 3), in North America 'A2'.

The cheaper cameras in the 'consumer' bracket can be of a really high quality, and very suitable for enthusiasts. Similarly, prosumer models sometimes sit right on the cusp of professional spec models. Investing in a pro Canon camera, like the 1D Mark IV is only worth it if you really do need that level of quality (and have some outstanding glass to go with it).

 

6 Quick-Fire Reviews To Kick Start Your Research

Right, now let's have a quick look at some actual cameras. I've simply divided them into their respective categories and provided key specifications. Each of these models is highly rated and I consider them very good buys. This should be a useful starting point in your search for a camera.

 

Beginner Canon Cameras

 

Canon EOS 550 D / Rebel T2i / Kiss X4 Digital

canon camera reviews

If you're looking for cheap Canon digital cameras, you can't go wrong with this. Though a beginner model, the Canon EOS 550D has superb resolution with an 18.7 MP sensor.

It is well designed physically, feeling nice in the hand, and is easy and intuitive to use. The light metering is very accurate too. I think this is the best of the Canon Rebel EOS cameras, and it always receives rave reviews!

Watch a video review of the Rebel T2i

 

Key points:

Sensor 18.7 MP

Maximum Image Size

5184 x 3456
ISO Sensitivity 100 - 12800 (with H1)
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/4000 sec.
Flash Auto pop-up flash
LCD Screen Size 3"
Weight 530g
Dust Reduction Technology Filter on sensor vibrates
Movie Mode Yes

 

Canon EOS 500D / Digital Rebel T1i / Kiss X3

Canon camera reviews

Another one of the best cheap digital cameras from the Canon Rebel EOS range.

Easy to use and with great image detail, the Canon EOS 500D is ideal for a beginner getting interested in photography.

There are quite a few easy-access external controls too, which personally I think is a huge bonus when shooting.

Watch a video review of the Rebel T1i

 

Key points:

Sensor 15.1 MP

Maximum Image Size

4752 x 3168
ISO Sensitivity 100 - 12800 (with H2)
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/4000 sec.
Flash Auto pop-up flash
LCD Screen Size 3"
Weight 480g
Dust Reduction Technology Filter on sensor vibrates
Movie Mode Yes

 

Prosumer Canon Cameras

 

Canon 40 D

canon camera reviews

The 40 D is another model you will find praised in many Canon camera reviews. It can produce noiseless images at higher ISO settings which is a simply invaluable asset.

A high quality sensor makes for really sharp images, and the camera batteries last for a long time too. The Canon 40D is definitely a great buy.

Key points:

Sensor 10.1 MP

Maximum Image Size

3888 x 2592
ISO Sensitivity 100 - 800
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/8000 sec.
Flash Auto pop-up flash
LCD Screen Size 3"
Weight 822g
Dust Reduction Technology Filter on sensor vibrates
Movie Mode No

 

Canon 60 D

canon camera reviews

A great camera for enthusiasts looking to step up from the Canon Rebel EOS range.

Similarly built to the Rebel cameras, the Canon 60D is lightweight for such a high spec. model.

Images are very detailed with a 18 MP sensor and the high ISO sensitivity options make it excellent for low light work.

Key points:

Sensor 18 MP

Maximum Image Size

5184 x 3456
ISO Sensitivity 100 - 6400 (with H1)
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/8000 sec.
Flash Auto pop-up flash
LCD Screen Size 3"
Weight 755g
Dust Reduction Technology Filter on sensor vibrates
Movie Mode Yes

 

Professional Canon Cameras

 

Canon EOS 7D

canon camera reviews

One of the best Canon digital cameras in terms of ergonomics and how it feels in your hands. Superb resolution and low amounts of noise at higher ISO sensitivity levels ensure quality images in all situations.

8 frames can be shot per second, so great for wildlife and sports photography! A big, clear viewfinder helps when setting up a shot. The Canon EOS 7D is a top notch semi-professional camera.

Check out this video review of the EOS 7D

 

Key points:

Sensor 18 MP

Maximum Image Size

5184 x 3456
ISO Sensitivity 100 - 12800 (with H)
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/8000 sec.
Flash Auto pop-up flash
LCD Screen Size 3"
Weight 820g
Dust Reduction Technology Filter on sensor vibrates
Movie Mode No

 

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

canon camera reviews

This is just an amazing camera - if you can afford it!

A high price accounts for magnificent image detail, great ISO performance even in the tens of thousands (!), brilliant auto-focus and 10 frames/second...!

The all round quality is superb and it feels comfortable in your hands. The Canon EOS 1D Mark IV is an incredible piece of equipment for serious photographers.

Key points:

Sensor 16.1 MP full frame

Maximum Image Size

3896 x 3264
ISO Sensitivity 100 - 102400 (with H3)
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/8000 sec.
Flash No built-in flash
LCD Screen Size 3"
Weight 1180g
Dust Reduction Technology Filter on sensor vibrates
Movie Mode Yes

I hope you found this useful, and are a little clearer about what to look for now. If you want some more in depth Canon camera reviews, I recommend checking out dpreview.com.

Where Next?

Choosing A Compact Camera

Using Lines and curves In Landscapes

Improving Portrait Photos In Photoshop

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